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Press release ¤ Information de presse

Nov 02, 2010

For awakening "sleeping" genes: Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller awarded the DECHEMA Prize 2010

This year the DECHEMA Prize of the Max Buchner Research Foundation is being awarded to Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller for his outstanding research resulting in the discovery and biosynthesis of microbial substances for pharmaceutical applications. Rolf Müller researches at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), the Saarbrücken branch of Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, and teaches at Saarland University. The award ceremony will take place on Friday, 26 November 2010, at 4 pm during a "Festkolloquium" at DECHEMA House, Theodor-Heuss-Allee 25, in Frankfurt am Main.

The DECHEMA Prize, which is endowed with 20,000 euros, has been conferred annually since 1951. The award acknowledges excellence in research in the fields of technical chemistry, process engineering, biotechnology and chemical apparatus engineering, preference being given to younger scientists. The work should be of fundamental importance and manifest a strong correlation between research and practical application.

Rolf Müller's department at HZI focuses on myxobacteria, soil-dwelling microorganisms capable of synthesizing a variety of interesting chemical structures. By clarifying the synthesis pathways and mechanisms of action it is possible to selectively promote the formation of defined secondary metabolites and to optimize their application. By using molecular biological methods, 'sleeping' genes in organisms can be 'awakened', thus significantly augmenting the spectrum of substances produced. In the past this led to the discovery not only of substances, such as omega-3 fatty acids, but also the anticancer agent epothilone.

Born in 1965, Rolf Müller studied pharmacy in Bonn. After obtaining his doctorate and working as a post-doc, he spent two years researching at the University of Seattle, sponsored by DFG, the German research foundation. In 1998 he was appointed Head of a junior research group at Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung (now HZI) in Braunschweig and research assistant at Technische Universität Braunschweig, where he obtained his "Habilitation" in 2000. Since October 2003 he has been Professor for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at Saarland University and since 2009 Head of the recently founded Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland. Rolf Müller has received several awards, including the DECHEMA Prize for Natural Product Research in 2002.

Photos of the award-winner and of the award ceremony can be obtained from the Press Dept. of DECHEMA e.V., Tel.: 069/7564-277, Fax: 069/7564-272, E-mail.


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